Monthly Parenting Magazine

Interview: Lucinda Waite and Kirstie Duke and, co-...

Interview: Lucinda Waite and Kirstie Duke and, co-founders of TÖASTIE

Kirstie And Lucinda Swim

Absolutely Mama meets Lucinda Waite, one half of children’s adventure brand TÖASTIE Lucinda set up TÖASTIE with her friend Kirstie Duke. We chattted to Lucinda about everything from running a sustainable brand, to how to make the most of time spent outdoors in nature with your family…

How did you start TÖASTIE and what’s the story behind the brand? 

Kirstie and I founded TÖASTIE from a shared love of exploring the great outdoors. We both had the privilege of a childhood spent roaming fields, playing in the mud or climbing trees, at a time where there wasn’t so much access to screens. We wanted to create a brand that shouted from the rooftops the benefits of spending time outdoors and that celebrates the wonderful world of nature.

We focused on children because that’s where everything begins, where your ideals and dreams are formed; if we can instil a sense of joy and wonder of nature from day one, there’s a high chance our tiny explorers will grow up knowing that nature will always provide a sanctuary for them. Coupled with that, they will be far more likely to respect and protect it. With each step forward, we hope to encourage more and more children to embrace the natural world from the very beginning, to know that in difficult times, adventure provides limitless therapy without judgment or cost.


Where do you get your inspiration from? 

I am constantly inspired by the environments I immerse myself in, we spend a lot of time outdoors as a family and I’m forever scribbling down ideas or taking photos of colours and situations that catch my attention.

I also have a huge love of film and books centred on endeavour and wonder – great expeditions that defy all odds; His Dark Materials, Lord of The Rings, The Jungle Book, all inspire little minds to both believe in magic but also that anything is possible, you need only put your mind to it and take that first step. 

I love fashion that is timeless but has a strike of personality; pieces that hold a high value place in your wardrobe like an old reliable friend that you can call on time and again to make you feel good when you put it on, it keeps you protected but also makes you look great and gives you confidence.

What’s your design process and how are your products made? 

We start each season curating a colour palette, we’re obsessive about finding the perfect hues that will appeal to both child and parent, then all different skin and hair tones. It takes forever but it’s critical to us that colours stand the test of time so they can be worn for as long as possible, then easily passed on regardless of gender. Following on from that, we rigorously develop and test proto-type samples to ensure our products perform and are as comfortable as possible for our tiny explorers. It’s imperative to us that kids can stay outdoors for as long as possible in our kit, feeling great and protected whilst doing so. We want our explorers to positively associate their clothes with time spent outside, so that they look forward to putting them on and thus look forward to getting out, we cannot abide the thick rubbery waterproofs that restrict movement.

We then work very closely with our manufacturers, with whom we have a 10 year relationship (and consider family I might add!) to ensure we are doing everything possible to reduce our environmental impact during the creation of our products. Wherever possible we use recycled fabrics and trims, everything must be PFC free and we are now working on full transparency over the carbon output of each product and ways to reduce this. We keep our collections deliberately small, the thirst for fast fashion and the dopamine fuelled need to have something “new” makes our stomach turn; our aim is to create timeless pieces and gradually update them over the years. We will only introduce a new product when customers have repeatedly asked for it, we will then work closely with focus groups of parents and children to develop new items.

Toastie Shot

How important is sustainability to the brand?

Critical. From launch we have always maintained the theory that the world does not need another clothing brand so we must craft our products with as minimal environment impact as possible. The purpose they serve whilst they are here must be valuable and stand the test of time so that they can be passed on to other explorers waiting to start their own adventure as many times as possible. We often hear reports back from our customers that our coats are now on the third or fourth member of the family! 

We are constantly looking for new options available to us in terms of sourcing responsibly made fabrics, trims and the way in which our products are made. We only work with one factory for around 80% of our production and they share the same values and ambitions when it comes to sourcing innovative and earth friendly materials. Together we are constantly striving to source the best in sustainable innovation. Our supplier is audited by both Sedex and HIGG Index, certifying that they meet our high standards of ethical and environmental production. We are in the review process to obtain B Corp status, which is something we feel passionately about.

Equally, our entire ethos revolves around encouraging children to engage with nature, to love and protect it from day one, it’s therefore crucial to us that they can trust us to do the same when creating products for them to wear.

Tiba Marl X Toastie Kids

Are there any exciting things coming up that we should watch out for this season? 

We have a super exciting project with a brand we have loved for a long time, award winning eco-conscious modern parenting brand Tiba & Marl. As mamas ourselves we’ve bought from them a lot over the years, We really admire their aesthetic and this collaboration allows us to delve into prints we wouldn’t usually be known for whilst celebrating all things nature and adventure.

How do you juggle the business with being a busy mama? 

Historically I would have said poorly, but I’m yet to see what ‘well’ looks like so it’s difficult to compare. I think the landscape society and our governing bodies have created for women leaves us with very few choices, so I have given up on ‘mum guilt’ as it’s just no use for anyone! Wherever possible I try to be present with my children when I’m with them, and then be present at work when I’m there. I have also made exercise a priority ensuring I’m able to have an hour a day to myself. I grew up with a working mother and we are incredibly close, I believe it’s about making the most of the time we are given, prioritising the balls that are the most important to us and not sweating the ones that will inevitably get dropped along the way.

Lucinda with her family

Do you have any top times for families who want to spend more time in nature with their little ones? 

I really believe it is a question of mindset and not putting too much pressure on yourself to make it a big deal, literally just putting on your kit and taking that first step outside is a great start, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. If you are able to make that little excursion fun, it then has a knock-on effect for the next time, and bit by bit you find yourself spending more time out there.

Making it fun can be really easy, our website has stacks of resources and easy incentives, some of our favourites include:

  • Take an adventure checklist with you, can you spot a snail, hear a bird, find an acorn etc
  • Take a few toys or healthy treats outside with you and surreptitiously hide them along the path of the adventure
  • Make it a sensory experience by encouraging them to touch and feel the mud, trees, bugs scrabble across their hands, the smell of different flowers and leaves, it all encourages the production of serotonin (the happy hormone) 
  • Avoid using the word ‘walk’, instead make it feel like a mini adventure; a picnic, a bear hunt, a fairy hunt, a treasure hunt … anything but a walk! 

Lastly, books are also a fantastic way to inspire little minds, I grew up immersed in Tolkien’s world of adventure and subsequently spent my entire childhood roaming hills and fields looking for magic around every corner.

And finally, what does a perfect family day look like for you? 

My dream day always starts with a good coffee, a run by the ocean followed by a cold water swim and a huge breakfast with my little helpers in the kitchen. Then an all-day adventure in the wilds with the whole family, in fact, it’s what I live for! Exploring the moors, biking through forests or long beach days with water sports thrown in, chill time in the evening when my kids offload their little minds to me and if there’s time, I love to read to them and watch their faces give way to imagination.

Thank you to Lucinda Waite, co-founder of Töastie.

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